The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “brahma-vishnu dialogue” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 10 - Brahmā-Viṣṇu dialogue

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:—

1. O Brahmā, the fortunate, the dispenser of the fruits of our actions, you are a blessed devotee of Śiva, as your mind is fixed in him. You have narrated to me the good story of Śiva, the great soul.

2. When Kāma returned to his hermitage with Rati and his followers what happened and what steps you took? Please narrate that now.

Brahmā said:—

3. O Nārada listen lovingly to the story of the moon-crested lord, a mere listening to which makes a man free from depravity and decay.

4. When Kāma returned to his abode with Rati and his followers what happened next, you can hear from me in full detail.

5. O sage Nārada, my arrogance was quashed when my desire remained unrealised. And surprise filled my dissatisfied and distressed heart.

6. How will Śiva who is free from depravity, who has conquered himself and who is devoted to Yogic practices take up a wife unto himself? Thinking thus I bewailed a lot.

7. Anxiously thinking all this about, O sage, I became free from haughtiness. I remembered Viṣṇu who is identical with Śiva and who is the cause of my origin.

8. I eulogised Him with auspicious hymns supplemented by statements of my miserable predicament on hearing which the lord appeared before me immediately.

9. The lord Viṣṇu with four arms, lotus-like eyes, holding conch, lotus and mace in his hands and wearing the refulgent yellow robe, dark-complexioned and the beloved of the devotees.

10. On seeing him in that form I eulogised him again with devotion and words choked with tears. I considered him as my sole refuge.

11. On hearing this psalm of prayer, Viṣṇu, the destroyer of the miseries of his devotees, became delighted and spoke to me who sought refuge in him.

Viṣṇu said:—

12. “O Brahmā of great intellect, you are the blessed creator of the world. Why did you remember me? Why do you laud me?

13. What great misery has befallen you? Tell me now. I shall quell it entirely. You need not entertain any doubt in this respect.”

Brahmā said:—

14. On hearing the words of Viṣṇu I heaved a sigh of relief and raised my face. I spoke to Viṣṇu with due salutations and palms joined in reverence.

15. O lord of Lakṣmī, lord of Gods, please listen to my submission, O bestower of Honour. On hearing it please take pity, remove my misery and bestow happiness on me.

16. O Viṣṇu, I sent Kāma with his followers, Māras, Spring and others in order to fascinate Rudra.

17. They employed various means but in vain. He, the ascetic of equanimity, was not moved at all.

18. On hearing these words of mine Viṣṇu the omniscient who is conversant in the principles of Śiva-cult was surprised and spoke to me thus.

Viṣṇu said:—

19. O Brahmā, how is it that such an idea entered into your mind? Considering everything sensibly tell me the truth.

Brahmā said:—

20. Dear lord, hear the story. Your magic is very fascinating. The world is attracted by it. Happiness and misery are based on the same.

21. Induced by that I resolved on committing the sin. Please listen. At your bidding I shall narrate it in detail.

22. At the beginning of the creation ten sons were born to me together with a very beautiful daughter originating from my speech.[1]

23. Dharma originated from the heart and Kāma from the various parts of my body. O Viṣṇu, on seeing my daughter I was highly fascinated.

24. I looked at her with a distorted vision since I had been deluded by your Māyā. Immediately Śiva came there and reproached me and my sons too.

25. He rebuked us considering Himself the sole lord, possessed of supreme knowledge and adept in Yogic practices and an enjoyer with full control over all sense-organs.

26. O Viṣṇu, my sorrow is that even after manifesting Himself as my son He reproached me face to face. I have mentioned it to you now.

27. If He were to take a wife unto Himself I shall become happy and forget all my miseries. O Keśava, it is for this purpose that I have sought refuge in you.

28. On hearing these words of mine, Viṣṇu laughed and spoke immediately delighting me, the cause of entire creation.

Viṣṇu said:—

29. O Brahmā listen to my words in full. It will eradicate your frustration. It will be consistent with what is said in the Vedas and Āgamas and what is in conformity with reality.

30. O Brahmā, how is it that you became so utterly confused in the mind? It is improper for the reciter of the Vedas and the creator of the universe to be so wicked.

31. O slow-witted one, cast-off this sluggishness. Do not indulge in such foolish thoughts hereafter. What is it that the Vedas say by means of their hymns? Think on it with a pure mind.

32. You foolishly think of Rudra, the great lord as your son. O Brahman, though the reciter of the Vedas you have forgotten all true knowledge.

33. Considering Śiva on a par with ordinary Gods you are maliciously disposed towards Him. Your good intents have vanished and evil ones have cropped up.

34. Listen to the first principle that had been narrated of old. Have clean conscience. It is the true Being that is glorified as the cause of all Creation. This is decisive.

35. Śiva is the creator of everything, the sustainer and destroyer. He is greater than the great. He is the supreme Brahman, the greatest lord, the attributeless, the eternal.

36. He cannot be defined. He is not subject to deterioration or decay. He is the supreme soul, without a second, unswerving and endless. He is the cause of dissolution, all-pervasive and great lord.

37. He is all-pervasive, possessed of three guṇas, for the causation of creation, sustenance and dissolution in the name of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa but really beyond Rajas, Śattva and Tamas—the three attributes.

38. He is distinct from illusion. He is free from desires. He is the creator of illusion yet uninfluenced by illusion. He is an adept. He is possessed of attributes yet independent of them. He is blissful in Himself. He is free from suspicions and alternatives.

39. He rests and relaxes in His own soul. He is free from the pair of opposites, such as happiness and unhappiness. He is subservient to His devotees in a fine physical body. He is a yogin devoted always to the practice of Yogas. He is guide to the path of Yoga.

40. He is the lord of the worlds and the destroyer of arrogance. He is favourably disposed to the miserable. Such is the lord, our master whom you consider your son!

41. Cast-off all these stupid notions. Seek refuge in Him. Worship Him exclusively. When He is propitiated He will bestow on you all that is auspicious and beneficent.

42. O Brahmā, if a thought surges in your heart that Śiva should take a wife unto Himself, you must perform penance directed to Śiva and think upon Śiva.

43. Meditate upon Śiva with that desire cherished in your heart. If that Goddess is propitiated she will do everything.

44. If Śivā takes an incarnation as a human being in Her attributive aspect, as the daughter of a person in the world, She will definitely become His wife.

45. O Brahmā, command Dakṣa. Let him carry out a penance strenuously with a great devotion to beget her to be given as a wife unto Śiva.

46. O dear, Śivā and Śiva are subservient to their devotees. This must be realised. Both of them being intrinsically the supreme Brahman can readily assume attributive form out of their own free will.

Brahmā said:—

47. After saying so, the lord of Lakṣmī thought upon his lord Śiva. Thanks to His favour, he received the real knowledge and spoke to me again.

Viṣṇu said:—

48. O Brahmā remember the words spoken by Śiva formerly when requested, due to His own will, by us at the time of our nativity.

49. Everything has been forgotten by you. Blessed indeed is the great illusion of Śiva which deludes everything. It is incomprehensible to all except Śiva.

50-51. When Śiva devoid of attributes became, out of His own accord, full of attributes, He created me first and then you with His own power in the course of His divine sport. The lord Śiva assigned to you the work of creation. O Brahman, the imperishable Śiva, the cause of creation, entrusted me with the task of sustaining it.

52-53. Then we requested Him “O Śiva, the lord of all, be pleased to take an incarnation with all your attributes.” Thus requested He laughed and spoke sympathetically, with his eyes raised to Heaven. Verily He is an adept in divine sports.

54. O Viṣṇu, a form of mine like this shall be manifested through my limbs and shall be glorified as Rudra in the world.

55. He is my full form and perfect manifestation. He is worthy of being worshipped by both of you. He shall fulfil your desires entirely. He is the cause of dissolution, the presiding deity of attributes, the practitioner of perfect Yoga without anyone to exceed.

56. All the three deities are my forms. But Śiva is particularly my full manifestation O sons, Śivā’s forms too shall be three.

57. The form Lakṣmī is Viṣṇu’s wife; Brahmā’s wife is Sarasvatī. The perfect form Satī shall become Rudra’s wife.

58. After saying this, the great lord blessed us and vanished. We bent our heads and joined our palms in reverence and returned to our respective abodes. Engaged in our own tasks we were very happy.

59. In due course we secured our wives. Śiva incarnated as Rudra at Kailāsa, His residence.

60. O lord of subjects, Śivā too shall incarnate as Satī. An effort shall be made for Her future incarnation.

61. After saying this, Viṣṇu blessed me and vanished. I rejoiced much and my jealousy disappeared altogether.

Footnotes and references:


In regard to the number of Brahmā’s sons the Purāṇas differ considerably. See Note 242.

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